Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Kierkegaard’s Concept of Anxiety - summary

Kierkegaard’s theory of consciousness leads directly to his theory of anxiety. It appears in a small book entitled “The Concept of Anxiety,” written in 1844 and published under the pseudonym Vigilius Haufniensis or Watcher of the Marketplace.
This purports to be a psychological deliberation on the problem of original sin, in which Vigilius tries to reconstruct Adam’s mental state before the Fall.(Palmer, 58)
Kierkegaard understands anxiety to be both the attraction to and the repulsion from the nothingness of future possibilities. Thus, anxiety is not simply a psychological state, mood or feeling, but is an ontological structure essential to human being and is the mark of human freedom. Anxiety is that which psychology refers to in seeking an explanation to free human choices. Further, anxiety is an explanation of choice only in the sense that it explains the possibility of choice; it does not and cannot explain the cause of this or that particular choice.

We must add to all this Kierkegaard’s more technical definition of anxiety: “ Anxiety is the sympathetic antipathy and an antipathetic sympathy.” (Palmer, 61)

see also: Fear and Trembling

Some books on Kierkegaard to check out: